Top 10 Ways to Lose a Reader

top-ten-list-top-95717_960_720Or maybe that should be bottom. These are ten of the … what should I call them? Mistakes I commonly see in indie books. Pet peeves. Maybe just the kind of things that will turn me off when reading a book.

I’m no David Letterman, but we’ll try it his way. Continue reading “Top 10 Ways to Lose a Reader”

What Are They Really Thinking?

My husband found the DVD box set of one of my favourite TV shows the other day. All three seasons! I was a pretty happy lady. We’ve been watching an episode or two each night and I’m loving it just as much the second time around.

Do you want to know what it is?

Lie To Me.

It stars a British actor – Tim Roth. He plays the role of a human lie detector. His official title is Deception Specialist, but basically he can read people’s micro-expressions and tell what someone is really feeling, whether they’re holding something back or are afraid or guilty or ashamed or disgusted – he can see it all when most normal people wouldn’t even notice. The show is based on research conducted by Dr. Paul Ekman, a clinical psychologist, author and manager of the Paul Ekman group – a small company that produces training devices relevant to emotional skills, and is initiating new research relevant to national security and law enforcement. (link:… and then of course Hollywood added some sugar and spice.

Personally, I think anyone who writes fiction should watch this show and here’s why… Continue reading “What Are They Really Thinking?”

What Makes a Good YA Novel?

Melissa Pearl with Students at St. Kents
Melissa Pearl with Students at St. Kents

In no way would I consider myself an expert on writing. However, I have been studying and practicing the craft for well over a decade and my fifth book is about to be released in November, so I do feel slightly entitled to share the knowledge I have gleaned so far.

I was asked to write this post on what makes a good young adult novel. I have come up with a few suggestions of what I think are some of the necessary elements needed in a book written specifically for this audience.

First, and foremost, like with any good novel, you need a well-constructed story filled with diverse characters the reader can relate to.

Once you have this foundation, you may then need to think about what makes a story more YA than other books. Continue reading “What Makes a Good YA Novel?”

Write Like a Playwright

The best three words to get a good discussion going among writers are: “Show, don’t tell”. When I first heard this instruction, I actually did explode: What do you mean, ‘show’, don’t ‘tell’? I want to TELL a story, for Pete’s sake!

Always remember Jimmy –
Show, don’t tell.

I want to be a storyTELLER – it’s in the job description, you see? And now you tell me that I’ve got to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ my story? How should I do that, exactly? Put a few arrows around the page, pointing to the words? Draw little pictures of stickmen? Get my printer to emboss cupcake shapes into the pages?

However, that was sometime ago now, and I ascribed my misunderstanding to the fact that I’m left-handed and, all my life, little sayings that everyone understands have left me baffled, unless and until they are explained differently. In this case, it happened with an example I want to share with you. Now, because you read Indies Unlimited, you are clearly a cultured person and doubtless go to the theatre (work with me here, I’ve heard that a little flattery goes a long way). Imagine you’re in a theatre now, watching two characters on the stage. They say this: Continue reading “Write Like a Playwright”